TPHC Report Reveals Noncompliant PVC Packaging

On June 29, 2012, the Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPHC) published a report on the compliance of PVC packaging from “dollar” and discount retail chain stores with the Packaging Legislation.
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Aug. 10, 2012 - PRLog -- The Toxics in Packaging Clearinghouse (TPCH) was formed in the US in 1992 to promote, support, and help coordinate the implementation of the Model Toxics in Packaging Legislation for the 19 member states that have Toxics in Packaging requirements. The legislation was developed in an effort to reduce the amount of heavy metals (Lead, Mercury, Cadmium, and Hexavalent Chromium VI) in packaging and packaging components to reduce their amount entering the municipal solid-waste streams and ultimately landfills and incinerators. This legislation limits the concentration of heavy metals to 100 ppm total for all the metals. Although originally affiliated with the Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG), TPCH continues in its capacity under the administration of The Northeast Recycling Council, Inc. (NERC). In Europe, Article 11 of the Directive 94/62/EC on packaging and packaging waste mandates the same limits on heavy metals.

Restricted Materials in PVC packaging
TPCH (  released a report on June 29, 2012 with the results of a survey it conducted to assess the degree of compliance with state toxic in packaging laws in the target sector, specifically ”dollar” and discount retail chain stores; and to identify noncompliant packaging. This report, focused on the flexible Polyvinylchloride (PVC) packaging of product samples purchased from dollar/discount retail chain stores. Previous TPCH studies in 2007 and 2009 showed a propensity for inexpensive, imported materials to contain restricted materials. The details of the survey methodology are provided below.

•   A total of 61 samples were purchased from six discount chains plus the “dollar bins” at two major retailers
•   Stores were selected for multi-state presence
•   Stores were located in seven member states
•   Packaging materials were screened for heavy metals by hand-held XRF
•   A list of failed samples was sent to all member states
•   Member states purchased additional samples of failed products for another round of XRF testing
•   The 61 purchased samples originated from the following countries:
   China – 54 samples
   Pakistan – 2 samples
   Thailand – 1
   Brazil – 1
   Korea – 1
   Unknown – 2
•   The following types of products were analyzed:
Children’s toys & games – 18 samples
   Pet supplies – 13 samples
   Personal care/cosmetics – 12 samples
   Home furnishings/apparel – 9 samples
   Hardware – 5 samples
   Household items – 4 samples

Findings of the TPCH report

•   24 packages (39%) failed XRF testing for Cadmium; 1 also failed for lead
•   Twenty two of the failed samples originated in China, 1 from Pakistan and 1 Unknown
•   Cadmium Range: 177-669 ppm
•   Lead Range: 361 ppm
•   Failures were not confined to one geographic region, one discount chain, or one product sector.
•   The same product would fail across multiple locations

Depending upon whom the states held responsible, 17 unique manufacturers, distributors, and retailers were notified of the non-compliant packages. Retail stores took corrective action by pulling the product from the shelf, returned product/packaging to the supplier, implemented new QA procedures for the suppliers, or purchased an XRF unit for internal testing.

The 2012 study focused on flexible PVC packaging from a specific retail sector comprising of dollar/discount stores, however across a wider spectrum of retail outlets with the inclusion of data from 2007 and 2009, a downward trend is seen in the number of failed samples, 39% in 2012 from 52% in 2009 and 61% in 2007 for all flexible PVC packaging samples. The TPCH study concluded that that “compliance with state toxics in packaging laws continues to be problematic for packaging made
from imported, flexible PVC.”

About SGS Consumer Testing Services
Throughout SGS’s global network of laboratories, a wide range of services ( can be provided, including analytical testing for cadmium, lead, mercury, chromium VI and other restricted substances in consumer packaging for compliance with TPCH and other worldwide requirements.

For further information, please contact the SGS expert.

Contact details:

SGS Consumer Testing Services

Sanjeev Gandhi, Ph.D.

Technical Director
291 Fairfield Avenue
Fairfield, NJ 07004, USA

t: +973-461-7924

SGS is the world’s leading inspection, verification, testing and certification company. SGS is recognized as the global benchmark for quality and integrity. With 70,000 employees, SGS operates a network of over 1,350 offices and laboratories around the world.
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